WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Arne Duncan says District of Columbia school officials deserve credit for big leaps in scores on the Nation’s Report Card.

The district and Tennessee were the only state-level school systems that showed increases over the past two years in all subjects and grade levels.

Duncan said Thursday that the district’s rigorous teacher-accountability program is identifying “great talent” in the classroom.

The district uses student test scores, classroom observations and other factors to evaluate teachers. Those who are found to be ineffective can be fired, while teachers considered highly effective can receive pay raises and bonuses.

Despite the gains, district schools still lag behind the national average on the Nation’s Report Card. And the gaps between the performance of white and black students are the largest in the nation.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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